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COLOURS OF CATS                                 393

creature the spots," it is said, give the impression of flecks of sun-
light broken up by foliage. On the other hand, the self-coloured
Cats of a sandy to eart!iŤa hue assimilate in tint with a sandy or
stony soil The stripes of the Tiger,, it is thought, approximate
to the tall parallel steins of grasses and other plant* in the dense
cover in which it lives. In favour of these views is undoubtedly
the fact that in other mammals and other animals belonging to
quite different groups the same four plans of coloration are met
with. Spots and cross stripes are found in the Marsupials; the
young Tapir is spotted while the adult is self-coloured, and so
forth. This last fact, however, serves to illustrate another view
which has been put forward in explanation of these characteristic
markings of the Felldae. JEinier has come to the conclusion
that there is and has been a regular series of steps in the
evolution of these markings. The primitive condition was, lie
thinks^ a longitudinally striped one; the stripes then broke up
into spots,, and the spots rearranged themselves as transverse
stripes; the self-coloured Puma and Lion are a final stage in this
gradual evolution. In support of this is the fact that spots
precede self-coloration in the individual growth of these animals.
The exact sequence of these markings is, however, contradicted
by Dr. Haacke's observations upon a certain Australian fish
which is cross striped when young and longitudinally striped
when adult, a precise reversal of what ought to occur on EIiner*s
The Felidae are almost universally distributed with the ex-
ception, of course,, of Australia and a good deal of the Australian
region; the headquarters of the group are undoubtedly in the
tropics of the Old World,
The characteristics of a few species of the Cat tribe will now
be given. As there are at any rate forty-five species, this survey
will have to be somewhat incomplete.
The lion, F. leo, differs from all other species by the mane of
the male. It is an inhabitant of Africa* India, and certain parts
of Western Asia. "Within the historic period it ranged into
Europe. According to Sir Samuel Baker those of us who have
not seen the lion in his native haunts have never seen a really
magnificent specimen of the brute; but other travellers disagree,
and state that a captive lion is often a finer animal—by reason*
of course, of good feeding. Unlike the majority of Cats* the Lion